How often do you attend a game to find that no 'official' independent referee has been appointed. The Coventry league organise up to 200 games every week but have less than 100 referees on their books with the priority understandably going to the older age groups. All these teams have managers and coaches, so why is the game struggling to find officials?
The answer lies with the abusive or threatening behaviour of team managers, players and parents that referees have experienced to the point where they are no longer prepared to tolerate it. Thousands of referees quit every year for this reason and whilst it may not happen in the majority of games, just one bad experience may be enough for a referee to call it a day.
Unfortunately it doesn't stop there. Thousands of players also quit the game because of the inappropriate or humiliating behaviour of their team manager or even their own parents. The FA Respect Programme aims to highlight inappropriate behaviour and address it, on and off the pitch. Football, like any other sport, ought to be enjoyed by everybody whether a referee, manager, parent, spectator or player. Lose the respect, Lose the game ...
What Are Leamington Hibernian FC Doing to Support The Programme?
Commitment to the FA Respect programme comes straight from those at the top of the club with guidelines and roles put in place to educate and support our club members in addition to providing channels to communicate any grievances should they arise.
Adoption of the FA 4 Steps to Respect
- Step 1 - Club Welfare Officers and Codes of Conduct
- Step 2 - Designated Spectator Areas
- Step 3 - Captains Taking Responsibility
- Step 4 - Referees manage the game
- Young Leaders Programme
Step 1 - Club Welfare officers and Codes of Conduct
The club have appointed 2 Welfare Officers whose primary role is to safeguard children and ensure that the Respect Programme is understood, taken on board and adopted by all club members and associates. Our welfare officers are also there for parents to raise any concerns you may have regarding the environment or safety of any child so that, where appropriate, issues can be monitored and actions taken where appropriate.
The club committee meet once a month to discuss matters on and off the pitch and the Respect Programme is an agenda item at every meeting. Any issues raised by anyone connected with the club or our leagues are aired, including those concerning other clubs to maintain the profile of the programme.
Your Club Welfare Officers Are;
Club Policy Documents;
|Child Protection Policy||Anti Bullying Policy||Equality Policy||Safeguarding Children Policy|
All player registration forms are accompanied by a set of League Code of Conduct guidelines in addition to a Parental Consent Form enabling parents to declare any medical conditions or objections to the use of player photographs on the club website or promotional literature. If for any reason, you have not had sight of these forms, please view them here and return any completed forms to your team manager.
Step 2 - Designated Spectator Areas
Hibs have been actively encouraging the use of pitchside respect banners since their inception in the 2008/9 season. Kitting out our 30+ teams is a significant financial challenge and in the event that a barrier has not been provided, managers are encouraged to mark out the designated spectator areas with rope or cones to evidence our support of the programme and encourage adoption from visiting teams and their supporters. Spectators are encouraged to stand on one side of the pitch with players and coaching staff on the other. This not only promotes discipline amongst spectators but improves player safety around the edges of the pitch in addition to ensuring that coaching instructions are issued from one side only.
Step 3 - Captains Taking Responsibility
The FA are following the example set my rugby and encouraging clubs to promote the role of team captains to be the voice of the team and the only player on the pitch allowed to query refereeing decisions. The captains armband is an accolade awarded to the player most respected by his team mates so there is a clear connection. At Hibs we emphasise this approach within our U7/U8 squads by awarding the captains armband on a weekly basis to the player who best;
Respects the decisions of the referee
Encourages his team mates
Shakes the hands of the referee and visitors after the game
Plays the game fairly and in the right spirit
Enjoys the game
Cleans his boots after every game
Tries his best at all times
Young Leaders Programme
Of course keeping refs in the game alone will not resolve the shortage of refs available to our teams and in 2008,Hibs extended our young leaders programme to give members the opportunity to pursue refereeing qualifications. To date Hibs have put 12 young refs through the course and they are now a regular feature on our junior pitches. Apart from providing all our teams with much needed refereeing support, involvement with our younger teams serve to build their confidence and gives them a chance to grow with the teams as they progress into junior football.
What can our club members do to support the programme?
Simply put, respect the policies of the FA and the club, they are there to protect and safeguard your children. We would also like to encourage all parents to register their support of the programme by becoming a FAN and taking the time to watch the FA parents guide. The guide can be watched without becoming a FAN however FANs receive news and advance opportunties to purchase tickets for England games. In addition the club will present any parent who can produce a copy of their Respect Guide Fan Certificate, a £1 discount off any club merchandise purchased at club events.
In addition, we recommend you read and follow the guidance provided by the FA with respect to safeguarding your children when using the internet. Whilst the internet and social networking sites are a fantastic medium for communicating and engaging with our members, there are dangers. Encouraging children to following a few simple rules goes a long way towards ensuring their safety. The FA also promote the Thinkuknow programme as a fun way of learning how to use the internet safely.